With inflation breaking a record seemingly every other month, making ends meet has never been harder. Like many people today, you’re probably already cutting costs where you can, looking for savings by cancelling streaming services and eating at home.
But if you don’t splurge on these expenses often, home-cooked meals aren’t going to unearth a chunk of money. For that, you’ll have to look to utilities that take up a large portion of your monthly income.
Overspending on the Essentials is a Bad Habit — Here’s Why
It’s easier to overlook bad spending habits when it comes to the essentials. Spending money to keep a roof over your head and food on your table can feel like you’re using your cash responsibly. You need these things to live, after all.
But spending beyond your means here is just as dangerous as blowing your budget on concert tickets and online shopping. It means your budget isn’t balanced.
Worse yet, it could mean you’re always waiting for payday to pay a bill. As for saving money? Forget about it!
Living without Savings is Hard
If you don’t have savings, an unexpected expense can become an emergency you can’t pay out of pocket. Suppose your HVAC system needs a new part to work, or the car you need for work blows a tire.
If you’re like most Americans, you’re reaching for credit in these emergencies. A credit card or line of credit can act as a safety net for when the unexpected costs too much.
The line of credit experts at MoneyKey recommend you shop around before taking out money so that you understand the costs that lay ahead. Each line of credit comes with different rates and terms, so your research might help you find a more affordable option.
Tips to Cut Your Regular Expenses & Save More Each Month
Ideally, you would field emergencies with your savings and not online lines of credit. So, what can you do to boost your savings at a time like this? Try the tips below:
- Use cold water wash cycles
- Hang your clothes to dry
- Use power-hungry appliances at off-peak price times
- Set your thermostat to these cost-saving settings
- Shop around for the best price
- Check out ratings sites like Standard & Poor or AM Best for ideas
- Negotiate for better deals or deductibles, leveraging your loyalty
- See if any vehicle safety features get you a cheaper rate
- Use GasBuddy to find the cheapest price at the pumps
- Carpool whenever possible
- Accelerate gently and coast to a stop when possible—gunning it from a full stop uses 20% more gas
- Drive the speed limit—you’ll save at least 20% more gas by dropping from 70 mph to 50 mph
- Go plant-based — inflation has hit meat the hardest
- Meal plan around weekly deals and coupons
- Use up leftovers — the average American wastes nearly 32% of food they’ve already bought
- Shop at discount stores
Bottom Line: Focus on the Essentials
If you want to save money, you can’t just cut out the occasional splurge and call it a day. You need to focus on the big expenses that tie up your cash every month.
While cutting out the essentials completely is impossible, these tips can help you reduce what you pay every month. They promise bigger cash savings than skipping takeout ever could since the essentials take up more of your money each month.